Another year, another visit to St Lucia. This was my fifth time and I planned to mostly take it easy and chill on the beach with a book. As it turned out, I still ended up taking a tour since I was travelling with my friend Marsha and she wanted to do things. Also, I can’t pass up opportunities to snap photos.
We went without much of a plan. I wasn’t actually expecting to get a response when I sent a message to Real St Lucia Tours one evening asking about the possibility of a tour the next day.
Surprisingly, the response did come in the promised 15 minutes with details about our options. It would be a private tour which allowed us the opportunity to do pretty much whatever we wanted for between five and six hours. We were sold.
I woke up the next morning a little worried since the rain was pelting down and I considered cancelling. In the end I decided to continue as planned and hope for the best. After a slight delay because of a mix-up over which hotel we were staying at, Isaac arrived to take us on our adventure.
The first stop was at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries. It was not on the list of suggested stops, but I thought it was worth a look. It’s not fancy from the outside, but the interior is a treat with paintings by renowned St Lucian artist Sir Dunstan St Omer. The stained glass Black Holy Family is a highlight but take a look at all the other scenes depicting using black characters. I find Sir Dunstan’s story to be fascinating and it’s a shame it’s not highlighted more for visitors.
After that, we stopped at Morne Fortune. Unfortunately, there were no cruise ships in port and it was a very cloudy day so the view wasn’t what it usually would be. 😦
Isaac kept the conversation going as we passed through the fishing villages of Anse La Raye and Canaries on our way to Soufriere. You can’t see St Lucia without seeing Soufriere. By the time we got close to the world famous Pitons, the sky had cleared up quite a bit although the winds were quite high.
Marsha and I had both been to the Drive-in Volcano and Sulphur Springs before and we had no interest in the Diamond Botanical Gardens. These are often must-dos for visitors but at this point, we were a bit at a loss as to what we wanted to do. Marsha opted for a quick photo stop at the Toraille Waterfall but I didn’t go in since I generally find them quite underwhelming. (Don’t judge me!)
Since we had no idea what we wanted to do next, Isaac suggested a place where could see “how the ancestors lived”. We agreed and it turned out to Morne Coubaril Historical Adventure Park. I’d read about them online but had totally forgotten about this option while on the tour.
While there is a thirty-minute tour which includes huts that are replicas of those from long ago, the site is way more than that. So much so, that I definitely need to return. During the tour, you learn about the processing of coconuts and cocoa and see the only donkey-powered sugar mill in the island.
For the more adventurous, there are also zip-lining and horseback tours. After you’ve worked up an appetite, a Creole lunch is served in the restaurant near the plantation house.
Being a Caribbean national, the coconut and cocoa processes weren’t new to me but I still enjoyed the refreshing coconut water and cocoa from the pod. The property was practically empty at the time so exploring the grounds was quite relaxing. Then there’s the view of Soufriere Bay and the resident dog who was afraid of me and the goat who enjoyed being petted.
Trust me, Morne Coubaril is a full day adventure.
Having had enough of Soufriere, I wanted to stop by Marigot Bay on the way back to Castries. I’d visited briefly on my first visit about four years ago but I have no idea where the photos are. For some reason, the area wasn’t quite as picturesque this time as I remember it. It could be the location from which we were viewing; I’m still not sure.
We also made a quick stop at Castries Market which left me underwhelmed. Maybe some of the craft, jewellery and souvenirs were made in St Lucia but since most stalls had similar things, I wouldn’t be too certain.
The final stop was a recommendation from Isaac: Triangles. This is an unassuming spot for an affordable takeaway lunch. There were several locals there purchasing meals so I knew it had to be good. It was!
From there it was back to Bay Gardens Inn where we were staying.
Would I recommend a tour with Real St Lucia Tours? Definitely! From the prompt response to my initial inquiry to Isaac’s patience with two indecisive Bajan women, it was well worth it!